Oscar-Nominated Director of Gasland Arrested While Attempting to Film House Hearing on Fracking
Josh Fox, whose Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary Gasland investigated communities affected by natural gas drilling, was arrested today while attempting to film a public House hearing on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," according to Politico (via Indiewire). "This is a public hearing," Fox said as he was being handcuffed. "I'm within my First Amendment rights, and I'm being taken out."
Fox is working on a sequel to Gasland, and the hearing was being held to explore the EPA's investigation of fracking contamination in Wyoming. Fox was asked to leave by security and when he refused was charged with unlawful entry. The hearing proceeded, with subcommittee chairman Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) noting that filming and photography by noncredentialed press was not allowed by rule. (Watch Harris' remarks, and the entire hearing, via pre-recorded webcast here.) "That's why we have rules that control who is recording..." he added, "just so we clear the air on that."
Before he continued, Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) motioned for an exception. "I think all those rules are to control access where there's limited access, but it is very clear that we have space in this room for either of them to film this hearing. If you claim that that rule does not allow them to film, or more accurately allows you the discretion to turn them away, I move that the rules be suspended to the end so the fella who wanted to film for HBO be allowed to film this hearing and that ABC News be allowed to film this hearing and all God's children be allowed to film this hearing until the room is too full to conduct our business."
Miller's motion went to voting, with members voting 7-6 in favor of a motion to table his motion, and that was that - a riveting mini-drama in its own right. Below, Huffington Post-obtained video of Fox's arrest.
[Screenshot and video via Huffington Post]